Executive Director, Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services, Toronto, ON. Born: Bridgetown, Barbados.
Carl Cadogan has been the Executive Director of Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services since June 2008. As an organization that has undergone many changes in the last thirty years or so, starting out as a Polish organization and then the amalgamation of two Polish organizations and experiencing two name changes, coming in presented challenges that Carl has undertaken in his usual steady style.
Carl’s role now is to ensure that the organization builds on the good history, and the very positive reputation of the organization. Carl’s role also includes building and developing the infrastructure of the organization by working to renew program sites, marketing materials and human resource policies and practices, while supporting the governance of the organization by supporting and broadening the role of the Board of Directors; serving immigrant communities across the GTA and responding to issues and policies that effect those being served, is the joy in doing this work and is always a constant challenge.
Prior to his position as the Executive Director of Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services, Carl was most recently the Program Director for the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM), an International NGO. Carl was the Program Director, responsible for supporting CAPAM’s vast international membership association of senior public officials, both appointed and elected. In this role, he was also responsible for the Better Governance Series of Quarterly Newsletters CAPAM published and circulated across the Commonwealth, from Antigua to Zimbabwe. Carl gained a wealth of experience working in diverse and multicultural environments, while traveling to many of the 53 Commonwealth countries.
Carl was also the Executive Director of Nokee Kwe Occupational Skill Development Inc., which served the Aboriginal community of southwest Ontario; focusing service on assisting Aboriginal youth and adults in securing employment and training. In this role, Carl gained a deep understanding of the issues facing the Aboriginal community, and an even deeper respect for those working with the community and the many challenges they face, both on and off reserve. Carl was the Vice President of the YMCA of Greater Toronto for fifteen years where he worked in all aspects of YMCA programming including the development of the YMCA Black Achievers Program, one of the first Mentoring Program designed to serve Black Youth in Toronto. This program was created in partnership and support of the BBPA then President, Dennis Strong and many others who worked there and were involved in youth issues in the community.
Community: Has worked in the community for many years, and worked with Eva Smith and many others to launch Eva’s Place, the first Youth Shelter in the then City of North York. As one of the founding members, Carl was instrumental in securing funds for the development of the shelter. For many years Carl worked in the Jane-Finch community with youth and was an advocate for and supporter of many initiatives geared to assisting youth in that community.
Background: Carl grew up in Ottawa and attended Carleton University where he acquired a BA/Honours in Psychology. He moved to Alberta in 1978 to work with Alberta Social Services, where he then registered at the University of Alberta, and completed the MA Program in Counselling while working for the government and selling Real Estate.
Affiliations: Chair of the London Diversity and Race Relations Advisory Committee (LDRRAC); former planning committee member of the Mandela and the Children event at Toronto SkyDome (1998).
Favourite books? Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth. Reading this book when I was about seventeen was ‘mind blowing. ’ I actually found the book on a bus while travelling from Ottawa to Toronto to visit my cousin. When I got to Toronto, I was not aware the bus had arrived; the driver had to shake me out of my trance, as I was immersed in the book. I have read it at least once every ten years.
Favourite quote? “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? I have always wanted to travel to Brazil, particularly to Bahia.
Who inspires you? I am inspired by the many ordinary and, sometimes, inconsequential things that make life interesting. I am also inspired by the work of ordinary people who do ordinary things without any recognition or thought, but achieve much.
Why do you do what you do? I have always helped people; in high school I was a camp counsellor and worked with ‘disadvantaged youth’ during the summer. That experience exposed me to the kind of work that I did not know existed; work that could be rewarding and impactful and although not the kind of work I ever thought of doing, was really a turning point in my thinking about what I could do with my life. It lead me to the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, the YMCA, and organizations that had missions; whose purpose was to serve, and to do so in ways that had a lasting impact on youth. Working with immigrants is somewhat similar; we are all immigrants and we remember our experiences and our family’s experiences in Canada. Having the ability to make a difference in the lives of people who are ‘brand new’ to Canada is a responsibility that I take very seriously; and although it has been challenging at times, with cuts to funding and to changing attitudes about immigrants and immigration, I leave work every day knowing that I have made a difference.